The nip in the air is a constant reminder that the December music festival is not far away. While rasikas dressed in traditional kanjeevarams and malli poo will be heading to listen to Carnatic music doyens perform, they will also be looking forward to the delicious food served as sabha canteens, set up specifically for the season. It is often put forth that the buzz in these canteens can match the excitement within the sabhas. If you are planning to do a sabha round-up this music season, do check out these places:
Meenambiga Caterers, Mylapore Fine Arts Club
It is run by K. Baskaran of Meenambiga Caterers at Mylapore Fine Arts Club. Dunk a crunchy vazhapoo vadai into the chutney and experience pure bliss. Baskaran has been running Meenambiga for over 20 years now. It was run by his grandfather Narayanaswamy Iyer and then by his father. Every year they introduce a new dish. Last year, it was mini idlis in mor kozhambu and it was a huge hit. Being reasonably priced, the place attracts a lot many rasikas in the evenings.
Mountbatten Mani Iyer canteen, Vidya Bharathi Kalyana Mandapam
Mount Sreenivasan of the famous Mountbatten Mani Iyer Canteen is extremely passionate about food and his canteen boasts of simple and authentic South Indian food. He likes innovating every season and infact likes the freedom to play around with choices. The innovation gauged from the fact that he created a hugely popular dish, watermelon rasam in 2014 margazhi season. Last year (2015) they came up with delicious vazhaipoo vadai made with a mix of pachai payaru (moong dal) and paruppu (lentils). To keep the health food fanatics happy, he introduced paniyarams made with karupatti, barley idlis, thinai pongal and vendhaya dosa as well.
Mint Padmanabhan, The Music Academy
Mint Padmanabhan, who runs the canteen at The Music Academy during margazhi is a legend himself. The food prepared at his canteen is a huge draw every season and the best part is that the menu changes every day, and is put together in the wee hours of the morning. You can savour everything from balaji laddu, Mysore vadai, kothamalli saadam, kaara boondi thayir pachadi, thakkali rasam, nendram chips to Mysore pak. For tiffin or dinner, their Guntur idli is a must-try. Apart from this, the canteen also prepares mouth-watering paruppu poli, cauliflower pakoda, vegetable spring roll and varieties of dosa, all of which can be washed down with a cup of filter coffee or masala chai.